Instagram’s livestream shopping feature is now over a year old, and beauty brand adoption has become widespread.
On September 19, Instagram concluded its “10+ Days of Live Shopping” campaign featuring a range of consumer brands, including many in the beauty and fashion categories. Beauty participants included one of the first Instagram livestream shopping adopters, Dragun Beauty, as well as Rare Beauty, Kitsch, Aveda, Olivia Palermo Beauty and Clutch Nails. Off-White’s Virgil Abloh was among the fashion participants. Instagram hosted the event as more beauty brands have jumped on board with the feature, including influencer-led, indie and conglomerate-owned labels.
Livestream shopping is “one of these interesting frontiers for the future of how we merge culture, entertainment and commerce all into one on the phone,” said Ashley Yuki, co-head of product at Instagram. “Beauty and fashion are the two biggest priority categories” for the feature, she said.
The platform has been working to make livestream shopping more accessible as it ramps up e-commerce features. It now offers a “Live” section on its shopping tab, where users can access all shopping livestreams happening at once without having to click through to individual profiles.
Estée Lauder Companies-owned Aveda hosted its first-ever shoppable livestream for the 10-day event. The kit it featured became its top-selling kit on Instagram Checkout.
“We see a lot of potential in livestream as another way to meet consumer demand. It’s a great way to make it easy for the consumer to discover and learn, then purchase without having to move between platforms,” said Gayle Malcolm, Aveda’s vp of global consumer engagement. “Consumers have adopted multiple forms of shopping that didn’t even exist a year ago.”
Aveda is now one of 10 brands in the ELC portfolio that have used the feature so far, according to the company. Others include Estée Lauder, Bumble and Bumble, Clinique and MAC Cosmetics.
The platform has been building its shopping capabilities with optional shopping links, not only for Instagram livestreams, but also for posts, Reels, IGTV and Stories. In addition, it has built out its dedicated shopping section with curated shops and a Drops feature.
Beauty brands have adopted shoppable livestreaming on a variety of other platforms, including TikTok, Facebook and Triller, as well as shopping-focused apps such as Supergreat, Newness and Shop LIT Live.
Instagram’s embrace of the drop model for e-commerce has carried over into livestreaming, as multiple brands use live events to unveil new products. During the 10-day event, Selena Gomez held a drop event for a new Rare Beauty mascara. Virgil Abloh appeared in a livestream with Instagram’s director of fashion partnerships, Eva Chen, on Vogue’s Instagram account. The event featured a drop of Off-White’s Met Gala collection, which is being sold through The Met Store’s Instagram shop.
Celebrity or influencer founders, such as Gomez, are especially helpful for driving livestream shopping engagement.
Brands with “creator-founder crossovers” are “some of the ones that are most interesting,” said Yuki. “They are able to lean into a community that they’ve built around their personality, beyond just a brand or merch line, and then parlay that into really launching into the beauty space directly.” The earliest adopters of Instagram livestream shopping while in beta were influencer founders including Nikita Dragun for Dragun Beauty and Tina Craig for her brand U Beauty.
For non-celebrity brands, “it certainly helps to have some sort of community aspect,” said Yuki.
Kitsch, for example, enlisted “Bachelorette” star Hannah Brown for its livestream.
Early adopters on the consumer side are “mobile-literate” and “skew female,” said Yuki. “The sky’s the limit with where this can go, in terms of applicability.”
Olivia Palermo Beauty was another brand to hold its first shoppable livestream on Instagram for the event. Her company, Olivia Palermo Group, had seen a “strong impact on sales” since launching on Instagram Checkout in September 2019, according to its vp of communications and partnerships, Derek Conrad. The brand plans to use the feature again to unveil new product launches in the lead-up to the holiday season.
The benefits of livestream shopping for brands include being able to answer audience Q&As in real-time and demonstrate products, said Conrad.
With the Delta variant spike now receding in some parts of the U.S., Instagram is still betting on social shopping and livestreaming.
“This is just an industry-wide acceleration of shifts that were already happening — particularly with purchasing things offline, and even considering things offline, all shifting to online,” said Yuki. “It’s happening across the board. We’re certainly seeing signs of that. These trends weren’t because of Covid, they were just accelerated because of Covid. And that’s why they’re here to stay.”
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